American Eagle’s Denim Hijab Sold Out in Just One Week
American Eagle is a central shopping destination for teens all around the world.
And now to reflect this global appeal, the Pittsburgh-based clothing company just expanded its target audience to be more inclusive. Earlier in the year, American Eagle added a hijab to its denim collection.
It’s safe to say that their target demographic was reached: according to the News Times the denim hijab sold out online in just one week.
The fashionable headscarf is a part of American Eagle’s “I Can” denim campaign that launched earlier this month. Somali American model Halima Aden is one of the campaign’s fresh new faces. In February, she became the first hijabi model to be signed by the major model agency IMG Models (home to supermodels like Karlie Kloss and Chanel Iman). Since then, she has made quite the splash in the industry, walking for major fashion shows like Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5, and Max Mara.
Aden was surprised by her own success as a hijabi model.
"To be honest, I never really thought I had a place in the world of fashion," Aden told Refinery29 in a June interview. "I didn't grow up seeing women dressed like or who looked like me in magazines or on television or [on] advertising billboards.”.
Given her popularity with major designers, the success of her American Eagle campaign, and the $20 online-only denim hijab reportedly selling out in just over a week, it is clear that Aden is working to filling a gap in representation that has long existed within the fashion industry.
American Eagle is not the only retailer to have marketed more inclusive and diverse looks in 2017. Nike’s reveal of the brand’s Nike Pro Hijab made headlines earlier this year as they aimed to stay true to their “founding mission, to serve athletes, with the signature addendum: If you have a body, you’re an athlete.”
This pattern of inclusivity is happening against a backdrop of intolerance. There's been a spike in hate crimes against Muslims since the 2016 US presidential election. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reports that 15% of the time, headscarves act as the trigger for attackers.
With the success of inclusivity campaigns from brands like American Eagle and Nike, hopefully more retailers will follow suit in working to serve demographics that have been historically underserved and unseen in the clothing industry, and reduce the stigma of the hijab in the public eye.